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Dodgers Trade Perez to Royals; I Say, Keep the Trades Coming

Before we celebrate the departure of the least-justified whiner I can remember, I'd like to take the moment to advocate the trading of our veteran talent for younger players (prospects and proven major leaguers). It's not that I'm giving up on the season, or even that I think that the Dodgers can't win with what they've got. The reason I want the Dodgers to be "sellers" at the trading deadline is simple: I believe that quality veterans are overpriced right now.

This idea occurred to me as I tried to figure out who the Dodgers could get, and what the price would be. It seemed like everyone decent would command a prohibitive price tag. There were just too many suitors for every belle. If the Dodgers wanted Maddux, the Cubs could demand a lot because they knew that the Giants, Diamondbacks, and anyone else short on starting pitching would be after him, too. It is frustrating to look at a list of probable trade candidates and find little better than Mark Hendrickson.

Then it dawned on me: why not be the Cubs, then. Anyone want Derek Lowe? J.D. Drew? Jeff Kent? Nomar? Saito? If so, let the bidding begin. If the price is right, we should let any of these guys go. Think about it: we're probably not going to win this year, so why not trade some of this year's certainty for next year's speculation? A guy like J.D. Drew is worth more than a guy like Andre Ethier because he's proven his ability over time. Anyone acquiring him today can feel fairly certain that they will get all-star level center field production fro him for 80 days (he'd be sure to invoke his option if he gets traded). If we trade him, we might get a younger player with more upside--and more uncertainty--in the trade. The advantage for the Dodgers would be the chance top build for the future. Now I'm not suggesting that we trade our only really good players for mere prospects--that would be franchise suicide. But trading to get younger, and exploiting the hunger for a quick fix out there should be a net positive in the long run. If enough of the players coming back in the trades are already decent today, then we still have a shot in the mediocre NL West, plus a brighter future.

I hope I was able to express what I would hope for here. It basically boils down to "buy low, sell high" (or sell Lowe, in this case). It's not magic, and it could be done on a sabermetric basis, or using a ouija board. The process for valuation is irrelevant. The point is that the market for established talent is being bid up by an excess of buyers. And I reiterate: you don't have to give up on this year (though it might help) to get this done. Just to prove that it can be done, consider this: trade Hall and Hendrickson for Seo and Navarro. You can't argue that it's an unrealistic deal, and it's hard to argue that TB is worse for the rest of the season, just because they traded a proven starter for a prospect catcher. So the idea is to get on the right side of this sort of deal. Maybe we could even get in a three-way deal and net a top young talent like Bay or Cabrera (we'd probably have to toss in a prospect or two of our own--or trade more than one front-line verteran), who we could control for 3 years and who would mature alongside our rookies. Just a thought.

Back to the Perez trade. If we can save any cash (word is that we will save about $3 million a year), then it's worth it. As Colletti points out, we weren't getting anything out of him anyway. We might as well replace him with a mediocre reliever. It's a pretty decent gamble for KC, too: Perez might regain form (as I've suggested earlier in the season) once he give up his full-time job as a malcontent. His excuse-making and finger-pointing have been relentless. He even called out the hitters when he was pitching well in 2003. What a jackass! Knowing that Colletti likes guys who react well to adversity (see Brett Tomko), it was obvious that he would be gone ASAP. Bye.